The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has taken the first step towards formulating guidelines for e-commerce marketplace.
Aimed primarily at ensuring the safety of consumers, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) Dr. G.N. Singh explained this important move and noted: “The role, responsibilities and liabilities of e-commerce marketplace and the product sellers need to be clearly defined.”
He added that it was becoming even more critical to have a framework in place when the intermediary is selling drugs where the safety and health of the consumer is of paramount importance.
The advent of technology has ensured the entry of e-commerce industry in the healthcare space in the form of e-pharmacy.
“However, there are issues such as complaint being filed against e-commerce player/s for online sale of prescription-based drugs, which need to be sorted out in a proper manner,” noted Dr. Singh.
He added that the Indian Government was forthcoming in adopting industry’s recommendations and the Drugs Controller General would assist in providing a legal status to implementable suggestions of industry.
The DCGI said that the interest of small retailers will be protected and it would be ensured that e-pharmacy does not disturb the existing supply chain system in place.
“We are hoping to integrate e-pharmacy in the existing system and are also engaging with international regulators in the space to derive a forward looking policy,” said Dr. Singh.
Dr. Arbind Prasad, director general, FICCI said: “We have been appointed as the nodal agency by the Drugs Controller General (India) for consolidating the guidelines. The marketplace has to be reined in to ensure consumer safety while selling of drugs online.
Currently, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act does not have any guidelines for e-commerce players in pharma.
“Hence, it is essential to create guidelines for e-pharmacy that checks efficaciously the use of technology as safety of patient, quality of drugs and robust supply chain are prerequisites for Drugs Controller General of India,” he added.
DCGI Dr. G.N. Singh said that the role, responsibilities
and liabilities of
e-commerce marketplace and product sellers need to be clearly defined